It's not a badge of honor

My first year in ministry, I lost track of how often I heard someone say, “I can’t believe you don’t burnout.”

At the time, I wore these words as a badge of honor. I heard in them affirmation for all I was doing and for the fullness of our ministry calendar. These words fooled me into believing that more always equals better. They tricked me into believing I was invincible and that there was no end to what I could do.

I believed that right up until the end of that year, when I crashed and burned. My scarred remains taught me a valuable lesson: “I can’t believe you don’t burnout” isn’t actually a compliment.

These days, I hear these words far less than I used to. Yet, whenever they rear their ugly head, I heed them as a necessary (albeit painful) warning that it’s time to reevaluate. You should too.

With that in mind, whenever you hear the phrase, “I can’t believe you don’t burnout”…

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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